Meditation Course week 1: notes and video


Notes and Video
week one of the 2017 Meditation Course

Feb-March 2017

This is the recording from our first session in this year’s meditation course. Video editing takes a long time, so we’ll be falling further and further behind – the only way to keep up is to join in at the Rojana Center each week.

Details for the course are here.


above – week one at the Rojana Center


So my phone is off, so I won’t be shamed today
Ok good, so we’re all here to
take on a 7 week meditation
and some people here are
fairly well experienced
with meditation. And some people
some people are completely new to meditation
So I’m going to be focusing on those ppl who are completely new
However for those who have experience
this is the time – a nice 7 week period of
to up your commitment
into making sure
that you do a daily meditation sitting
and don’t worry too much about whether the
meditation is nice or not nice
it’s good or it’s bad
your mind is bright or it’s dull
but for this period of time
try do a daily meditation sitting
and then each week I’ll ask you for feedback
some of you who are completely new
I’m not sure yet but we might kind of
break up into smaller groups
and have feedback with somebody
with meditation experience
Very often just the act of interacting and
talking with other people
about your meditation
really really helps to … you know
help your own commitment
One of the difficulties with meditation is
there is always something nicer to do
there is always something easier to do
it’s always easier to pick up a newspaper
turn on the computer
pick up a book, and books are good ..
there is always somebody to talk to
you can always turn on the TV
and watch the news, watch a documentary
for me YouTube is terrible
I can just like chain watch YouTube
one thing after another thing, after another thing
I like Judge Judy
stupid things like that!
It’s just much easier to do
and what you do is you put the meditation off
and part of the feeling is
Well, if I’m going to meditate
I’m going to meditate at a time
when I really feel ripe for it
So I have a story to illustrate:
I have a friend of mine
and he has a house
on .. a ..
well, on an island – just in case he’s watching
And he said to me – like
.. because I said to him ..
he knows a lot about Buddhism
I said, but you never do any meditation
and he said ‘oh yes yes, I do meditation
you don’t know …’
‘if I do meditation or not’
and I’m like
when do you do meditation?
He’s a work-a-holic
I said ‘and there’s no way ..’
and he lives at the place where he works
I said ‘there’s no way you do meditation here!’
‘because you have too many things ..’
he said ‘yes yes, I can’t do it in my house here’
‘but when I go to my island
then I can meditate’
and I happen to know that on the island
at that time there was a lot of construction
I said ‘can you do the meditation while they are doing the construction?’
and he said ‘oh no no, I have to wait till they’ve finished’
I also know that his house there is a single room
a fairly large room,
but a single room house
and I said ‘well there’s you and your wife there’
at the same time.
and he said ‘yes, I can’t do it while she’s in there’
and then I’m like … well …
He said ‘no I go outside and I sit with nature and it’s beautiful ..’
and I’m like … ‘well
you know – I know that even one
mosquito drives you crazy so …
he said ‘no no, I can’t go out when there’s mosquitos’
and then
I said ‘what about the hot season?’
and he said – ‘oh it’s too hot to go and sit outside..’
So what have you got left????
His idea of meditation is
if it’s not too hot
and it’s not too cold
and there are no mosquitos
and his wife isn’t there
and he’s on his island
and it’s nice weather
then he can meditate !?!?
that’s not meditation – that’s chilling out
that’s relaxing in nature
which is great to do!
but that’s not meditation
He didn’t agree with me,
but there you go …
So our meditation system
our meditation practice, is
is something that we want to try and
arouse and maintain
and the biggest obstacle to meditation in fact, is
the ease of distraction
there’s just always
things that are easier
more habitual
that you can get involved in
you can pick up and do instead
the knack is not to wait
until you happen to be in a really beautiful state of mind
and then say ‘hey man I’m a really good meditator’
a good meditator is someone
who will do the practice
day in .. day out ..
regardless of
of how your state of mind feels
you want to try and bring the meditation to every single state of mind
OK – for those who are new
the path of meditation
there are different reasons for people
to get interested in meditation
For me – I read a book about
these monks who would live up in
caves on the side of the mountain
One monk – he was in Sri Lanka
and the biggest event of the day
that happened to him every day
was eating his food
and the second biggest event
was brushing his teeth
I thought
“yeah! That’s me!’
Don’t need to talk to anybody
I don’t have to interact with anybody
I can just be completely
on my own and absorbed it
super-mundane states of mind
and not be involved with the world
and that really suited me
I was not
keen …
on the world and I didn’t have too much ambition
for things like jobs and
relationships and things like that
Not the best motivation right !?
Other people .. well …
One person that I know got diabetes
and … like ..
the early stages of diabetes,
so meditation was recommended
as part of the meditation, the diet, and the exercise
in order to overcome the diabetes
and it seemed to work
whether it was the diet, the exercise
or the meditation we don’t know
A friend of mind – his daughter
was …
.. he was a .. is a meditation teacher
and his daughter used to go
with him on meditation retreats
for years and years – but she wasn’t
interested in doing the meditation
she’d play and read and do different things
and as she got older
when she was about 16
on the meditation retreat
there was a really beautiful,
really poised 20 year old girl
and the 16 y/o was so enamored with this girl
thought she was so beautiful and so poised
and if SHE wanted to do
a meditation retreat, well then
the [16 y/o] girl would too.
So she started meditating for that reason
what are your reasons for
wanting to come and meditate?
.. can be all kinds of different motivations
but one of the things that we find is the
motivation will tend to change
the more meditation that you do
whatever it was that originally pulled you through the door
as you get involved with meditation
as you start to take up a daily practice
it gains a momentum of it’s own
and you don’t really need reasons
reasons are all part of the ego
part of the thinking
but when you get into the practice
you’re really putting down that whole
kind of ego, that whole ‘I am’
the whole kind of mental life that we live in
.. is putting that down and finding
somewhere else to dwell
Now sometimes that’s easy
and sometimes that’s difficult
so the biggest challenge as I said is
to be able to do this consistently
Yesterday I was doing my meditation, and
well, actually I was trying to install
photoshop on my computer
Not a happy ..
time that I was having to be honest
and – so while I was doing this – but I just wanted to sit
and every so often, every hour or so
I’ll be like ‘arrgh I’ve had enough!’
beating my head against a brick wall
windows hanging and crashing
and then I’d go and sit and my mind would just …
my mind was just so beautiful and still and bright ..
I don’t care about photoshop, I just want to sit right here – this is it!
and so, I don’t know, I was doing about 4 or 5 hours of meditation yesterday
and this morning I think – ‘you know I have to come and give the talk today ..’
I’ll get myself into the right space for the med …
so I can talk to you all
and then pppptth. Nothing
just mind jumping around backwards and forwards, wouldn’t settle down
Meditation is not about the
experience that you are having
In those 2 examples last night and this morning
I’m comparing what the experience is
and it’s your ego that judges …
you know .. ‘I’m doing it right’
‘Now I’m getting it’
‘Now I can’t do it I’m so terrible’
You need to get pas that kind of thinking mind
when you put the thinking mind down
well if the mind is great,
or the mind’s not great
that’s all part of judging and thinking
that’s all part of this mechanism that
you’re trying to actually get away from
So the meditation needs to be
something that’s consistent
and it will take on a life of it’s own
because it’s independent to your, kind of, ego
and what you want,
and what you’re aiming to get from it
On the wider scale of things, the
goal of meditation is called Enlightenment
this is what Saints and Sages around the world
have been in search of
in every tradition
in every culture you have
a group of people that
kind of, withdraw from society somewhat
recluses, saints, sages, hermits
people who have looked at the world
in the normal sense
but have seen something else
and every culture, every
age all around the world
you had people who do this
in Christianity you had the Desert Fathers
The Philokalia –
I don’t know if anyone has tried reading that
it’s quite a beautiful book if you can read it
Saint Teresa of Avila
the Spanish Mystic
during the Spanish Inquisition
her, and her
disciple, or follower, Saint John of the Cross
these are real hard core meditators
In India – you had it – all the Upanishads are written from these
really deep experiences that people were having
and China – as soon as Buddhism got to China
it was picked up very quickly because
they had this feel for that ultimate goal
what is the ultimate goal – this ‘enlightenment’?
we can study it
we can talk about it
I can give you the definitions for it
But for this period of 7 weeks
we’re not too focussed
on what the ultimate goal is
we focus on what you need to do
So as we get into the meditation practice
we are embarking on this same path
that all these people have followed before us
and so we’re joining a world wide, humanity long
tradition of people who are
interested and willing to stop
and turn the mind around
and turn the mind back inwards
on a path of discovery
Meditation is something that we will
or one does learn
only by DOING it
Nobody can really teach you meditaiton
I can’t say certain things
and then you just catch it
and then you can do it
I watched this documentary …
again YouTube!!
of a ..
small group of people who made bicycles
that when you turn the
steering wheel [handlebars!!] left
the wheel will turn right
and when you turn right
.. turn your handlebars right,
the wheel will turn left
and they had great fun
putting everybody on these bicycles and watching them fall off
and just one or two of the
researchers were really determined
to master it, and
they tried every technique they
could think of to try and master it
they just couldn’t
and then the guy said, he said ‘You know one day it just ‘clicked’!’
‘and from that second on I could ride the bicycle’
and then he got back on a regular bicycle
and you know, he was falling off
for a few minutes, but then that clicked
and then he could switch between the bicycles
there was a moment
where the knowledge
came alive
this is one way of learning things
in psychology you call it ‘Insight Learning’
that means the animal that you are testing will suddenly
figure out what it is that needs to be done
.. briefly, in psychology they had …
2 schools – behaviourism
and cognitive, Insight learning
the first school they did these experiments
with cats – and they put a cat in a box
and the cat has to escape
from the box to get the food
to escape from the box it has to hit a lever
when it hits the lever,
the door opens, it gets it’s food
You put the cat back in the box
and what does the cat do?
does the cat hit the lever again?
No – it carries on doing random actions
until eventually it hits the lever
and then you put the cat back in the box
poor cat! Gets frustrated
and slowly but slowly slowly
it gets faster and faster for the cat to hit the lever
but the cat never has a moment
where it figures out what to do
Compare to monkeys
they had chimpanzees,
and they put them in a
room – in the room is a table, a chair, and a broom
and high up on the wall is some bananas hanging
and the only way to get the bananas
is to put the .. move the table,
put the chair on the table
stand on the chair with the broom and you can unhook the bananas
it took a while for the chimpanzees to figure this out
but the moment they figured it out
every time you put them in that room
they will immediately do that action
It means that they have cognitively understood the process
to cognitively – when you get that moment
where you suddenly understand something
you get like a flush of happiness
a little boost of endorphins will go around the body
I remember distinctly the first day I understood how a magnet works
and it was only about 3 years ago
I was watching Richard Feynman
If anyone has …
anyone watched Richard Feynman??
probably one
probably a bit old for most of you
bit young for it
and I suddenly
‘ah that’s it! that’s how a magnet works’
I could never understand why you could attach a magnet to a piece of metal and it doesn’t fall off
‘but there’s no battery!?’
and now I understand it
Don’t ask me to explain it to you …
So there is a
moment that we get of happiness
when we have attained to new knowledge
when we’ve understood something new
But the meditation that we do is not like that
Meditation is something that you don’t
apply your mind and your intelligence
and then you’ve figured it out
‘ah that’s what it is!’
it’s not something that you can do even slowly over a matter of weeks
over 7 weeks – you’re not going to
get to the end of 7 weeks then
‘POW – now I know meditation’
I just go and do it and every day I sit there for an hour and I’m just ‘hey!’
‘hey man I’m really cool’
it’s not going to happen
Meditation is something that
you can only learn by doing it
and this was a difficulty for
many years trying to teach meditation because
I was trying to make people understand
and you can’t
It’s .. it’s … you may understand something intellectually
you may understand how a magnet
can stick to the side of a fridge
without the need for a battery
but you will never understand meditation
– like ‘oh, that’s what it is’
So the meditation is only something
that you can learn by doing it
you have to just do it
it’s your journey
it’s you turning your attention around
and bringing it inside your own mind
you might call it a ‘self-reflectivity’
So, instead of the mind pouring outwards
into the things of the world
all those things that are exciting
stimulating, interesting
YouTubes, and emails, and books, and conversations, and TVs, and parties, and food
and all the rest of it
these will all pull your attention outside of yourself
and why you like those things
is because you’re not feeling yourself
So, for example, when you go to see a movie
what’s the difference between
a good movie and a bad movie?
The difference is, a good movie, sucks you in
you get pulled into the story
if you’re not pulled into the story
well you know, the seat is too small, and the
person next to you is rustling toffee wrappers, and
someone else is scratching, and
the air conditioning isn’t right
or it’s too hot or it’s too cold,
you know, you feel …
you don’t like to feel yourself
we like to be completely absorbed
outside of ourselves
So turning the attention back inwards
is quite a job
reversing the flow of the mind,
if you like
The Buddha called it the
‘worldly stream’
and he said you are going against the worldly stream
there are different ways to look at it
or example the Chinese were very much
.. when Buddhism got to China they were very much
well you go into the worldly stream,
you go into the flow of nature
But Indian Buddhism was very clear
it was you go against that worldly stream
of the attention flowing outside of yourself
into things to do, things to have,
things to listen to, things to eat
things to occupy your attention
I had this one friend – he was studying Thai
and he went to the …
I can never remember – Unity or Union
there’s 2 really good schools in Thailand, Bangkok
and the school was at that time
near Phrom Phong … not Phrom Phong
Ploen Chit – Ploen Chit Center
and he lived at On Nut
[a few miles away]
So 5 days a week he would take the Skytrain
from On Nut to Ploen Chit
and .. a very good friend of mine,
but he never had any interest in meditation
until the very end – but that’s another story
and he said to me
that he goes by Skytrain
and he said ‘but fortunately!’
he got his iPod
-shows how long ago that was!
he said ‘fortunately I’ve got my iPod
it’s a total life saver’
Why is your iPod a ‘lifesaver’?
because that trip from
On Nut to Ploen Chit
was too unbearable because
he didn’t have something to occupy himself with
he needed something that would just occupy his attention
otherwise, he’d have to just feel himself!
and he felt that was very uncomfortable
and this is true for pretty much everybody
until you train yourself
it’s always going to be more
comfortable to have your attention
outside of yourself
into some kind of activity
bringing the attention into yourself
at first is going to be a little uncomfortable
so sometimes when people are
really new to meditation
they can feel a little panicked
or the breath will go too fast
because you’re not accustomed to it
what’s happening is, as you bring your attention in
that mind is still wavering a lot
and the mind that’s wavering,
or moving
is uncomfortable
if we keep practicing, you get accustomed to
feeling yourself, knowing yourself, being wakeful
and this starts to become the most
beautiful thing that you can experience
So yesterday while I am doing photoshop
trying to get my photoshop installed
it took me all day and I still failed
because it’s not as nice!
It’s better to bring my attention inside
my attention is home
my attention is still
my attention is bright
I don’t need to go anywhere at all
This is what we call a ‘refuge’
There’s a technical word –
it’s called a ‘sarana’, or ‘refuge’
and a refuge means it’s a place
that you can place your mind
which doesn’t depend on anything
it doesn’t depend upon having
the right food to eat
food is a really big thing you know..
you might not think it is
but you come and live in the monastery
and you get the kind of food that we have to eat
within a few days you’re …
starting to realise what a big thing
food is for most people
I had friend of mine – he had gout
and the Dr told him drink water
he’s like – ‘I don’t like to drink water’
our food obsessions are so ..
strong that you’ll even
be .. prefer illness to changing our food and drink habits
so this refuge doesn’t depend upon having the right food
It doesn’t depend upon having a nice building
or a nice house,
or a nice place
it doesn’t depend upon having the nicest people around you
it doesn’t depend upon your partner
There’s so many people I know
whose happiness depends on their partner
It’s not a very reliable
place to
ground your sense of happiness
in your partner right?
other people are not
terribly reliable.
Who was it said ‘Hell is other people’?
Sartre was it?
if you have developed this refuge
what happens is,
you have a place to place
your mind
which is always there
which is always bright
it’s independent of the states of mind
this is important
because meditation is not:
making your state of mind very happy
and very beautiful
it’s having a place to rest
independent of the state of mind
so your state of mind may be highly agitated
may be unhappy
it may be bright
it may be dull
behind all of those states of mind
actually is this really .. cool ..
bright .. clear .. awake .. resting place
it’s right there – right
in fact it’s so close to you that you don’t notice it
and this is what we are trying
to cultivate with meditation
Some years ago I had this crazy doctor
told me I had cancer – which I didn’t, but
he told me I had lymphoma
I don’t like hospitals at the best of time
in fact ..
just going anywhere near a hosp ..
in fact even just the word makes me feel a bit queasy
and so I was already feeling very out of sorts
and then he said, ‘you know, I think you really may have lymphonma’
oh man!
and then I went to ..
I went to lie down because I was feeling all dizzy
and he said to me one of the most
stupid things I’ve ever heard in my life
He said ‘shy are you lying down?’
I said
‘I just need a minute to stop’
and he said ‘why?’
I said because
‘what do you mean “why?” ?’
‘because I don’t want to die’
and he said to me the most utterly ridiculous thing
he said
‘why are you afraid of dying? You’re a monk!’
You’re NOT helping the situation here
even while that was happening
I could still feel this sense of refuge
there was still this sense of the
this stillness
a place of stillness
a place of brightenss
a place of alertness
that was independent of even that feeling
being afraid that I’m going to die
it was 12 years ago; I’m not dead yet, so …
I should go back and see him really shouldn’t I
So the …
this is what we are trying to develop
this sense of refuge
it’s right there inside you
it’s right there in
or amongst .. or between, every single
state of mind that you can possibly have
it’s right there
it’s going to take some digging out
and to dig it out takes time
it takes commitment
and 7 weeks won’t do it
7 months won’t do it
this is at least a lifetime practice
at least a lifetime practice
you never really get to the point where you say
ok now I know how .. I can do meditation
there’s always more and more layers
there’s always more and more tricks
that the mind will play upon you
So at least one lifetime
That’s why I wrote up on here
So we’re going to do some meditation
and we’re going to go back to the very basic core
for meditation, which is to
sit and watch the breathing
The breathing is a ‘meditation object’
and you can have any one of
100s or 1000s of different meditation objects
usually meditation objects
are things like a mantra
that you .. words that you can recite
visual things
if you are very visual, you can
focus on things
that you can see
from light, to a candle, to a …
even to a very intricate Bodhisattva picture
and really strongly visualize
those are some
there are many body based forms of meditation
we do the Qi Gong here every Thursday
it’s a
good way to bring your attention in the body
we do walking meditation
but amongst all these different
meditation objects that you can use
the one that we use most commonly
is the breathing
and there are a couple of good reasons for this
one is
when you sit and ..
when you do the meditation
we make sure that on the in-breath,
the abdomen expands
On the out-breath the abdomen contracts
this is called Yogic Breathing
if you are stressed
or in a difficult situation
the you will tend to breath in at the chest
you watch boxers when they’re fighting
and when they sit down in the corner after
between rounds
they are breathing in at the chest here right!
when you get stressed you will
tend to breath in using the chest muscles
which are actually a lot stronger
than the abdomen muscles
they use up a lot of energy
when we breath in from the abdomen
it means that we are relaxed
so when we come to do the meditation
if you make sure that the ..
you are doing the abdominal breathing
the abdomen expands with the in-breath
contracts with the out-breath
this will automatically key you in to a calmer
state of mind
it’s called a bio-feedback mechanism
this is the reason why, when police come to your house
and give you bad news
they tell you to
sit down and have a glass of water ready
because when you are drinking water
it signals to yourself
‘well if I’m eating and drinking I
must be in a reasonably calm situation’
when you are stressed
you don’t usually want to eat or drink
unless it’s ice cream
the breathing, especially from the abdomen will
signal to you that this is
a time when you are feeling in a safe and relaxed
and has that bio-feedback
mechanism on to the mind
the second thing is the breath will be a very good barometer
will indicate to you
how you’re feeling at the moment
and the whole idea of meditation
or ‘Insight Meditation’
that we do here
is that you start to really
see yourself more clearly
I could tell you how to change
I could tell you –
be more compassionate
be nicer
feed the cats .. and
ask your children what they’re studying at school
I could blah blah blah
I could do all kinds of things
you could do the same with me
there’s plenty of things in life that
I do wrong
to simply use like the ego or the intellect
to say well this is how
you should be
or this is how I should be
is not a very good long term plan
it’s not going to change you very much
Years ago I went from England to New Zealand
because it was as far away from
England as I could get
and on the flight there I .. invented
an entirely new character that I was going to be
forget this ..
other person in England
Now I’m going to be this completely new character
I can clean the board
of course within 2 weeks I”m exactly the same as I was
when I left England
because I’d carried the exact
same personality along with me
Setting forth
goals – I’m going to be like this, or this, or this
is not going to change you very much
we do do this kind of work –
it’s call adhithana, or ‘resolution’
and this is when we do things
like bowing practice, or
chanting practices
so we can take a long term
deliberate conscious effort to change our behaviour
in Buddhism the thing that we
the tool that we use is called Insight
and insight means that
you are being aware of yourself
as I discussed earlier,
most of the time, most of you
are not aware of yourself
you like to be aware of
what you are eating, what you are doing
who you are talking to
what you are looking at
where you are driving
what you are planning
anything except feel yourself
So our vehicle of change
in the meditation, is
neither I nor anybody else
is going to tell you how you should be
It’s up to you
to determine that
with your own intelligence,
and your own wisdom
but the meditation will give you
a tool whereby you can see how you are
and seeing how you are
is what will start to change you
in a way that your ego can’t
your intellect can’t do it
you can’t set forth those kind of goals
Those people who’ve been
meditating a long time, you know
you get days or months when
you feel like you are really cracking it
and like ‘oh yeah, I got it going’
and then
months when you just …
doesn’t seem to work
that’s just the waves on the surface of the ocean
the undercurrents of the ocean
is what will really move you and change you
and when you look back over
5 years, 10 years, 20 years
then you day that’s …
that is a complete change
I know that for myself
that before I was doing meditation, my
happiness just depended upon
other people,
and other things
So much of the time
depended on my parents
depended on my friends
it depended on my car
all these kind of things that I was so invested in
and these days my happiness
doesn’t really depend upon anybody
it depends upon me
and me alone
I get
really beautiful places to live
and to be in
and sometimes
I get really terrible situations
I stayed in Goh Samui
[Thai Island]
in this – ‘Kamalaya Resort’ is it?
it’s .. he knows it ..very well, plush
high class expensive resort
and I had 3 nights there
and I was like …
the lap .. this is the life you know!
the life of a monk!
Come here 🙂
another time I was in a temple and
I’d just rolled up and asked to stay the night
and they put me in this really disgusting room
it had spit all up the walls
there was no windows
full of mosquitoes and …
some days you get good
some days you get bad
my happiness doesn’t depend upon
the things around me
it only depends upon myself
So as you sit and breath
the breathing is a very good barometer
It will start to point to you
how you are actually feeling
and this
turning the attention back inwards
and starting to
observe – know thyself
wasn’t that written above the .. the
at Delphi, the Oracle of Delphi?
was written – the Greek phrase,
‘Know thyself’ … I’m looking at you here
Socrates … ?!
Yes but it was written above the doorway of the entrance to the
where the Oracle of Delphi was
written – know thyself
so that’s what we’re trying to do
we’re trying to ‘know yourself’
bring your attention back
and your breath will be a
be a very good indicator
as you sit and watch the breath
you’ll feel, like a thought come into the mind
and the thought starts to call your attention
and it disrupts your breathing
if you’re in touch with your breathing
you start to get really in touch
with what’s happening in your mind
So, the breath is a very good meditation object
there are many
none are really better than others, but
the breathing is a good one to start with
I wouldn’t
usually recommend any kind of meditation object
that isn’t body based
so you need to be based in the body
some people use the body sweeping
the attention coming up and down the body
it’s good
I like to use the whole body itself
in like a neutral
aspect where it just kind of
hums and vibrates, and buzzes
whatever it is, your meditation
does need to be grounded in the body
and does need to be grounded in the present moment
not wandering off into the past or the future
the past or the future may arise
you may have a memory come up
of something that happened
but you’re not getting lost
or caught in that memory
you’re seeing it very clearly
what’s happening right now
this memory has come up into my attention
and I am keeping my attention in the present moment
and that memory will disappear
what we’re not trying to do is psychology
and, I am a fan of psychology
but that’s not what we’re trying to do
so a thought comes up
something in the past
somebody hurt you
somebody accused you of
something you didn’t do
I have a funny story about that
if you want I’ll tell you later
someone accuses you of something you didn’t do
and you get all that blame
20 years later you can still feel it right?
that memory comes back in
and you’re still kind of, like
start argueing and ..
trying to defend yourself
and it’s ridiculous really
this is just a little tickle
a little memory
that popped up right now
right – you’re in the present meoment
this thing has come to try
and disturb you for a while
and then it will disappear
So grounded in the present moment
even if the past or the future thoughts will arise
as you focus on the breath
what will happen
is the breathing comes in
the breathing goes out
the breathing comes in
the breathing goes out
the breathing comes in
and the mind says
OK I’ve got that!
I’ll leave
10% of me watching the breath
and the other 90% of me
is going to go and plan
or argue with my partner
plan my retirement
plan my visa
that’s a big one for me right now
that’s the end of your meditation right there
because any repetitive action
your mind is automatically
geared …..
evolutionarily programmed
that any repetitive action it can safely ignore
and it just pays attention to
other things
the breathing comes in
the breathing goes out
just like
you’re walking down the street
your foot ..
your left foot goes, your right foot goes
and then you’re off thinking right?
what we have to do then is
when you realise your attention has wandered away
on to something else
ask yourself this question
well, ..
how come my mind went somewhere
I didn’t tell it to go?
Whose mind is this ?
Why am I not in control of my mind?
and then you bring your attention
back to the breathing
there’s places where the mind wanders off to
and how we deal with that
we’re going to look at in a future week
but for this week –
for those of you who are new to meditation
all you need to do is stop
make a note –
where did your mind wander off to?
bring it back to your breathing
try to get yourself accustomed to just
feeling that simple feeling of the breath
and being content with that
contentment isn’t something
that arises because you like it
contentment is something
that you train yourself in
train yourself to say
‘the breath
is absolutely all I need
just to sit here and breath
is absolutely everything that I need
your cat can do it
your dog can do it
your baby can do it
can just sit
as an animal can just sit and breath
Be like a big gorilla
Do you know that theory about human beings
why we’re
so smart
if you compare us to gorillas
Some of us probably closer than others
for apes
our babies
take a long time to develop
compared to other animals
like a giraffe
can run after like 10 mins of being born
you know – a human takes 3 years …
so we take a long time to develop
but while we’re developing,
our brains have this huge plasticity
where we can learn new things
that’s why your 10 y/o
can learn a language faster than you can
because they have this enormous learning potential
social learning potential
when they’re very young
and then for apes,
as you get older, you lose that
you, you no longer need to learn things
well as humans, what happened to us
was our …
we never got mature
which is why we’re not
we never get hairy like an ape
we get stuck in that learning phase
so that
you may think you’re very smart
but you’re really just, the kind of
unmatured ape
So I like to think of this
because when you see a gorilla
on TV
a big gorilla
they just kind of sit there and breath, right?
they can just sit there and BE
in their group, in their situation
all the little gorillas are bouncing around
and running here and there
climbing all over you
and biting things
and biting each other, and
turning somersaults
but the adult gorillas are just
sitting there being and breathing
So I really like this image
for when I do the meditation
this is my big gorilla time
my baby monkey time
that’s when I’m doing
doing other things
my meditation – that’s big gorilla time
I can just sit and be with my breath
I am strong enough
I’m good enough
everything is just as I need it to be
That takes a training –
to train yourself to be happy with the breath
just before we do some meditation
mention the mind is like a machine
and that is whatever
you put your attention on to
your mind will take on that characteristic
if you put your mind on to fluffy kittens
and you like fluffy kittens
you r mind will start to become
kind of nice and kindly and compassionate
if you put your mind on to Donald Trump
and you don’t like Donald Trump
after a while your mind will become
agitated and unhappy
maybe angry
if you like Donald Trump
we won’t go there …
whatever it is
that you put your mind on to
your mind will take on that characteristic
So …
you put your mind on to a person
do you like them or do you not like them?
after a while your mind will
get into this liking and disliking
hating and loving
so what we’re trying to do with the meditation is
put your mind on to something that’s neutral
the breath is not
it’s not bad
it’s not comfortable
it’s not uncomfortable
it’s just nice, calm, present
so train yourself
to be happy with that
you do this intentionally at first
but every so often
the mind will just come together
and stop still with the breath
and you’ll just be
just realise you are sitting there
and bright, and breathing, and still
and absolutely happy
then the mind says
‘yeah now I’m doing it’
and then phhhutt
you’re off again
your ego took control
the mind is just a machine like this
whatever you put your attention on to
that’s how your mind
will start to become very quickly
[missing few seconds of audio/video]
I have a friend like this
I don’t know, he’s …
he was my closest friend for many years
we don’t see each other much these days
whatever I would
present to him
he would just embody it
so he would say something like …
‘oh I can’t get the computer to working today’
and I’d say
‘Oh computers are awful’
‘Oh they’re terrible, oh I have so much prob …
Oh I have so many problems …
and he spirals into this kind of like
angry fed up person
and then I’ll say like ..
‘That’s nice weather outside …’
‘Oh isn’t it nice,
I’m so glad I’m not in Germany’
blah blah blah
and then he’d ………..
become all bright and happy
and then
I’d say …
‘oh you’re so lucky to have such good food here’
he’d say ‘oh you know, we have great food here’
I’d literally remote control him!!
I could just press the button
and flip him into any mood
that I wanted to flip him into
so the mind is like that
whatever the .. is in conscious attention
you start to become that thing
use a bit of wisdom
lets train ourselves to put our attention on to
something that’s calm, is peaceful
that is very close to yourself
that will give you a very good
indication of what’s going on
in your body and mind
expect the mind to go off wandering
on to other things
that’s it’s nature
that’s how you’ve trained your mind for
for 20, 30, 50 years
however old you are
70 years some of you
you’ve trained the mind
to be looking for things that are
exciting, stimulating, interesting
of course your mind will carry on dong that
when you do the meditation
the process is one of continually coming home
everybody clear enough?
you think we can do it??
20 minutes meditation
OK ….


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